Friday, July 7, 2006

The Lightning Round:
Greed Kills

Do not fret, newshounds. While we have been taking a scenic tour of California, your blogmaster has been keeping up with several big stories.

LAY-ED TO REST. Convicted corporate con man Ken Lay assumed room temperature this past week. The official cause of death is a heart attack, which assumes he had a heart to begin with.

Lay's death has provoked anger -- how dare he die! How dare he escape justice! His demise also raises doubts about whether the government can ever get its hands on any of Lay's money. But it doesn't stop suits against his estate, which would have happened anyway. And after the legal bills, it's highly unlikely anybody would have gotten any decent chunk of cash out of him, dead or alive.

We can go back and forth about the religious implications. According to the Palm Beach Post, Lay at one point said: "God in fact is in control." We seethe at the unfairness of it all, the possibility that Ken Lay actually made it to Heaven while the victims of Enron's crimes go through Hell on Earth. We shall see what kind of funeral he gets.

But for now, I leave you with some verses from the musical Wicked:
"No one mourns the wicked.
No one cries, "They won't return!"
No one lays a lilly on their grave.
The good man scorns the wicked.
Through their lives, our children learn:
What we miss when we misbehave.
And goodness knows, the wicked's lives are lonely,
Goodness knows, the wicked die alone...
Nothing grows for the wicked,
They reap only what they've sown."
THE ROCKETS' RED GLARE. Perhaps feeling left out of Fourth of July celebrations, North Korea launched seven missiles this week, including one that might have been aimed for Hawaii.

While the rest of the world decides what to do about Kim Jong Il, or as my Dad calls him, "Pajama Boy," I can only recall the image of him presented to the world in Team America: World Police -- a buffoonish madman commie who can't pronounce the letter L.

If he wasn't playing with nukes, we'd give him a timeout in the corner.

MEXICAN STANDOFF. Felipe Calderon is the official winner of Mexico's presidential race -- for now. His left-wing rival, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is not conceding defeat.

Vultures of the 2000 Bush-Gore presidential debacle are circling. But The Lightning Round reminds you, we have no butterfly ballots. And "dangling chad" refers to the act of hanging Chadisco by his feet from the balcony to get him to vote for the PRI.

AND THE WORD WAS... Several new words are joining Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

Among them:
google (v.) -- To use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web

mouse potato (n.) -- a person who spends a great deal of time using a computer

wave pool (n.) -- a large swimming pool equipped with a machine for making waves

According to KCBS Radio, "podcast" just missed making the cut because it hadn't been in use long enough. As one Webster staff member described it, getting into the dictionary is a lot like getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame. You have to have staying power.

I guess that rules out my (dated) suggestion.

smurf (v., adj., n.) -- all-purpose word substitutable for approximately 2,000 verbs and 2,000 adjectives ("Wanna smurf around?", "That's a smurfy new bikini!") and possibly a few nouns. Use as a meaningless intensive is also acceptable ("What the smurf was that?").

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